The night is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars
Letting in the light, peephole after peephole —
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Under the eyes of the stars and the moon’s rictus
He suffers his desert pillow, sleeplessness
Stretching its fine, irritating sand in all directions.
Over and over the old, granular movie
Exposes embarrassments–the mizzling days
Of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams,
Parental faces on tall stalks, alternately stern and tearful,
A garden of buggy rose that made him cry.
His forehead is bumpy as a sack of rocks.
Memories jostle each other for face-room like obsolete film stars.
He is immune to pills: red, purple, blue —
How they lit the tedium of the protracted evening!
Those sugary planets whose influence won for him
A life baptized in no-life for a while,
And the sweet, drugged waking of a forgetful baby.
Now the pills are worn-out and silly, like classical gods.
Their poppy-sleepy colors do him no good.
[only part of the whole; by Sylvia Plath, 1939 – 1963]
“All that a civilised person needs is a glass of dry sherry or two before dinner” –
T S Eliot, 1888 – 1965
“It rests me to be among beautiful women
why should one always lie about such matters?
it rests me to converse with beautiful women
even though we talk nothing but nonsense,
the purring of the invisible antennae
is both stimulating and delightful.”
– Ezra Pound, 1885-1972
“When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
and the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
now you are like morning bread,
smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savor,
but I am completely nourished.”
– Amy Lowell, 1874 – 1925